So who is the better team…the Blue Bulls or the Sharks? Given that there is no geographic or demographic restriction on what players each team can have it really comes down to a matter of choice. Its chocolate ice-cream or strawberry ice-cream all over again isn’t it?
I think the same can be said for Mountainbike Clubs too.
I’m not really a “Club sort of guy”. I know what sort of deviate thoughts and desires go through my mind, and being a snob at heart, I wouldn’t want to join any Club that would have me as a member!
It would seem that there are lots of Mountainbikers who see themselves more as Lone Wolf types. They not only don’t want to join a Club, they see it as contrary to the ethos of Mountainbiking.
I can share this view 50% of the time if you were to ask me on any random day.
The argument that most of the Clubbies want to use in this instance on folks like me are, “Well if you want to get a race license you have to join a Club”.
This is a “stick” approach and I respond much better to “carrots”.
The other favourite Clubbie argument is, “It isn’t safe to ride on your own, you need a Club to ride with”.
I personally solved the safe riding problem by building fully fenced and secure Bike Parks with custom made single track so that aint gunna cut it with me!!!
As for the licensing issue…well if the Club concerned has so little to offer that the best they can come up with for a reason to join is that SA Cycling wont let me race in their events unless I do then they are a sad bunch indeed.
The only reason I think about Clubs is because I get lonely sometimes, and doing stuff with a bunch of like minded lunatics is often better fun than doing it alone.
So who to join? Well that’s just a matter of taste. I personally run a mile from any sad-sack that starts with the “you gotta join us to get a license” spiel.
I also don’t think much of the “security issue” story…I believe that Cult Cycling has solved that problem, and the more Parks we design and build the more solved it gets!!
Each Club has its own flavour.
Johannesburg Mountain Bike Club (JMBC) isn’t really into racing. They are social in their approach to riding and have probably introduced more people to the sport in SA than any other single Club. If you don’t own a HRM and don’t want to, then you may have found your club. Swell bunch of guys and gals! They make major contributions to various charities and are involved with development of the previously disadvantaged riding community.
Club 100 MTB breed race snakes like there is no tomorrow, and specifically those designed to run on diesel for 8 days at a time. They contribute more entries to the Cape Epic each year than any other single source that I know of. I love their regular training rides in the mornings (well I hate early mornings but Neil’s banter is almost worth it) and the competition if fierce. Being the red-headed step-child of a road club they hold regular free skills training afternoons to cross infect the other white sock brigade with our peculiar virus.
Cyclesport Cycling Club have Fritz and Ruan as the guiding force, and it doesn’t get much better than that. They have training rides every day of the week in Pretoria and on the weekends in Joburg, and it really is hard to have any more fun on a bike than with these guys. Race snakes extraordinaire!! People from the bike industry actually drive from Joburg to Pretoria to take part in these super fun rides.
But it’s the “new kid on the block” that has caught my eye. We all know that Club Super Cycling Mugg & Bean is at least a sister Club to the guys and gals from Club Super Cycling Cycle Lab.
Nobody can deny that the Lab breeds roadies like a petrie dish breeds fungus. The odds are fairly good that if you are a competitive road cyclist and not a member of the Lab then you probably hate them…being spanked continually will do that to you, and those boys and girlz do like to win! And seem to do so regularly!!!
So imagine my surprise when Andrew Mclean started turning up at Logwood Bike Haven in Mugg&Bean kit with a bunch of known white sock wearing roadies and started collecting scars like the supply was going to run out.
Richard Beswick ain’t no roadie, and he started to pass the skills around amongst the white sock bunch, and this nucleus was added to by hard core Mountainbikers from far and wide. Given the fact that they have a cool sponsor, nice kit (that I think suits me wonderfully and I look great in for a 46 year old boerworse) and professional full time Club employees to take care of all the stuff that volunteer committees so seldom get right it became fairly obvious to me that they were a Club to watch.
Richard thinks that Bike Havens are just the best thing since sliced bread (we love him too) and offered to put our little man on the Club Kit. We know this was just an attempt by him to look cool (Richard is not known as the King of Bling for nothing), but we were flattered enough to offer Mugg&Beaners a 20% discount on access to Bike Havens.
Within Mugg&Bean, Andrew Mclean is just another member, but it hasn’t gone unnoticed that he saw that riders at the Bike Haven needed some supplies of consumables to keep on the trails and offered to provide them. He also saw that we needed some bike racks to hold our bikes whilst putting number boards on etc, so had some made and delivered. The Tuesday morning Shrapnel Rides are dominated by Mugg&Beaners. Not one single day goes by without someone from Mugg&Bean riding at Logwood.
This sort of commitment from a Club and it’s members has impressed me enough to join myself. These guys seem like a little gathering of my tribe. The other stuff they do with kids is great, but I haven’t got kids. The rides they organise, the efficient way things get done, having a place to hang out at races, and the pre ride chatter and post ride post mortems are what I live for.
To all the Clubs that provide a little something extra for their members that makes mountainbiking an even better experience….Well Done!!!